Hari's Corner

Humour, comics, tech, law, software, reviews, essays, articles and HOWTOs intermingled with random philosophy now and then

The 3 Ds of the legal profession

Filed under: People and society by Hari
Posted on Thu, Jan 13, 2011 at 21:44 IST (last updated: Thu, Jan 13, 2011 @ 21:44 IST)

In this series < Previous Next >
How does one earn respect in the legal profession? I believe a lot of it has to do with the 3 Ds: decency, dignity and decorum. Sadly these are the qualities that are gradually eroding in today's competitive environment.

I don't blame the lawyers entirely for degradation of professionalism and professional ethics in the profession. The public at large is equally to blame for this. People who come to lawyers usually expect the lawyers to solve their problems by hook or by crook and do not entirely appreciate the duties of a lawyer to the judicial system or the profession. Any semblance of honesty and integrity takes the back seat. In today's scenario if a lawyer tries to advice a client to do the right thing and this goes against their interests, the client goes away and finds another lawyer to take on his case. Truth and justice are thus strained to the utmost as lawyers do a tight-rope walk balancing their professional ethics with the demands of their clients and the advancement of their careers (and bank balance).

The first D stands for decency; I still believe that honest, decent lawyers can succeed if they eschew short-term monetary gain for long-term career growth. The legal profession is entirely dependent on reputation and goodwill and a lawyer who conducts his personal and professional life with decency will earn a positive reputation over time and attract the right kind of clients. I think this applies even to criminal lawyers who regularly associate with the lower strata of society. Conduct does matter and decency in personal and professional life will contribute to the right image.

This brings me to the second D: dignity. Lawyers chasing after clients is an undignified spectacle and brings down the reputation of the entire profession. Only brokers and low-level agents do the client-chasing in most professions. I believe lawyers should refrain from such unseemly and undignified conduct. Even new lawyers should avoid getting into a bidding war with their professional colleagues in order to get a client. I believe that dignity goes a long way towards building a good reputation.

The final D: decorum is closely associated with dignity. But I think there is a slight difference. Dignity is what comes from the inside and decorum is the reflection of that inner dignity. The two cannot be divorced. I believe that lawyers should stay within the behavioural norms of social conduct. While a really top class lawyer can get away with rude speech and crass or indecorous behaviour by the sheer quality of his/her work alone, proper decorum will go a long way in establishing respectability for the lesser mortals.

While all this might seem a bit too much to ask for in the real world, the 3 Ds will actually go a long way in re-establishing respect for the law and the legal profession among the public if adhered to by a majority of lawyers. In fact, it will benefit the profession as a whole. The 3 Ds should be an ideal to aspire for every budding legal professional.

In this series

1 comment(s)

  1. I believe in these 3Ds. thanks for the great explanation.

    Comment by Exam resulta india (visitor) on Wed, Jan 19, 2011 @ 23:12 IST #

Comments closed

The blog owner has closed further commenting on this entry.